Main content area

Lack of radioprotection knowledge and compliance in Norwegian equine ambulatory practice

Mikkelsen, Marthe Aamodt, Ottesen, Nina, Knutsen, Bjørn Helge, Søvik, Åste
Veterinary radiology & ultrasound 2019 v.60 no.3 pp. 265-272
compliance, equipment, horses, quality control, questionnaires, radiation safety, radiography, radioprotective effect, surveys, teachers, veterinarians, Norway
There is an increasing use of mobile radiographic units in equine ambulatory practices in Norway. Horse owners or handlers often participate in the radiographic examination in a non‐controlled area. The aim of this descriptive, cross‐sectional, survey study was to evaluate the radiation safety and protection in use of mobile radiography, and to identify areas where special attention from the regulatory authorities as well as veterinary educators would be required. A questionnaire was distributed to all equine veterinarians assumed to have access to mobile radiographic units, as part of a formal inspection in cooperation with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. Few practices met the regulatory requirements of notifying the authorities of their radiographic units and designation of a radiation protection officer. The minority of the practices performed periodic quality assurance of their equipment. Many of the practices performed all of their radiographic examinations off‐site. The examinations were most often performed in the aisle outside the horses’ stalls, and few practices established an operating zone. The horse owner or handler participated in the radiographic examination in almost all of the practices. Few practices used dosimeters for determination of the radiation exposure. The study shows that there are major deficits in regulatory compliance in ambulatory equine radiography practices in Norway. The study also suggests that less stringent regulations and supervision may translate into less stringent radioprotection practices.